Monday, July 13, 2009

Up the Down Escalator

It doesn't matter one single bit that I have been here twice before, I still can't manage to get it right for the first week and a half. I walk into the Menza to get my lunch, deciding on the very unappetizing-looking pasta dish. But I don't see a station for it once I get to the front of the line, and I ask, "Pasta?" Which is returned with a great deal of Czech that I don't understand. So, I just repeat, "Pasta?" and point to where I am standing, which, I'm sure must be really confusing to someone who clearly doesn't know the meaning of the word pasta, but might very well assume that I am not it. So I leave to find the number on the display case outside of the main cafeteria, but the turnstile doesn't go both ways, and I slam into it going the wrong direction in front of a few of the coordinators. At this point I feel like a three legged woman, or someone that was born with arms that go all the way down to the floor. I mutter an expletive, and find that my pasta dish is number 4. OF COURSE. The most impossible Czech number to pronounce. You can say it any way you like, mimic their pronunciation a million times, and it will never sound to them like the number 4. So I walked back into the Menza, and I held up four fingers, and he served me a square of over baked broccoli pasta "'surprise" that I managed to eat about a third of.

But that's not all. Oh no. Of course not. For my drink, I decided that it would be a good idea to stick with one of the drinks from the soda fountain. I chose the one with the picture of the orange on it. I thought, I have this coupon, and they say it is good for the main meal which I'm assuming includes something to drink. I'm wrong though. The lady says something to me in Czech about 5kc, and I say something back in English about how I thought the coupon covered something to drink, and she says, impressively, "We are not prepared." So I gave her what I had, 50Kc, and she gave me now I can get an instant coffee from the machine before I teach my class. Which is drawing ever nearer.

I have never taught a class that I haven't felt utterly terrified about. I have never gone into teaching a new class thinking, "This'll be easy. I'll be fine. Bah!" Of course, it usually is fine, but there is always this underlying dread...right beneath my skin...right around the line of my scalp, heavy on my chest...that it will not be all right, and there I'll be, staring back at a room full of students, with nothing to say, and no way to figure it out. That's pretty much where I am right now. We'll see what happens.

1 comment:

Juniperrr said...

I know that I will get confirmation from your next posts that you didn't freeze in front of the class. But... I know that feeling. I am feeling it a little more and more each time I remember that I will be in a new school come August. YIKES!

If I get stuck at any point, I will definitely fall back on my favorite Czech-accented zinger:

We are not prepared.